FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The cardiac rehabiltation center at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital is now twice as big and in a new location to serve residents of Okaloosa County.

The new facility is located at 1020 Titan Court Suite 101. The space is 2,300 square feet, including a gym with upgraded equipment, exam room, two patient treatment rooms and two changing rooms.

HCA says the rehab center is for patients recovering after a heart attack. The outpatient program places patients in monitored exercise sessions as well as receive nutritional counseling, stress management, emotional support and education as they work to develop a healthier lifestyle.

Recent patient Jose Garcia, 78, spoke about his time with the rehab staff after a quadruple heart bypass surgery in July.

The retired Air Force veteran, who says his life and passion is playing golf, spent nearly 20 years on various medications and had previously received five heart stents to open clogged arteries.

“When I started playing golf, I was playing up to five days a week,” Garcia said. “Then later on, I was only playing three days a week, and it was too much. I was getting so tired.”

After completing the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital, Garcia says he’s back to doing what he loves five days a week.

“I’m feeling great. I just left the golf course,” he said. “Everyone did a phenomenal job taking care of my 78-year-old body and making me feel brand new!”

The program requires a physician referral.

“This is such an important part of the treatment of the patients – just as important as some of the medications we prescribe,” said Dr. Juan Zarate, cardiologist and medical director for HCA Florida Fort Walton Destin Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center.

For a free physician referral or to speak with a registered nurse 24/7, please call Consult-A-Nurse at (850) 864-0213. For more information about our cardiac services, call (850) 863-7592 or visit